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Chapter 6 reviews urban institutions and their role as top-down forces shaping life in early cities. The chapter focuses on social class and wealth inequality, the royal palace, and the relationship between people and urban government.
The pervasive informal privatization of public institutions seen in urban secondary schooling is a key component of the lived citizenship of different social strata. Many of the arguments in the book depend on an appreciation of the implications of pervasive private tutoring for the everyday school and for articulations of citizenship and national belonging among students. Privatization-by-tutoring affects almost every aspect of school life in Egypt, from whether students and teachers come to school or enter classrooms to whether the morning assembly ritual is performed. It is, however, the different ways in which informal tutoring markets are established within and alongside formal institutions in the three types of school that reflect the functioning of state institutions and differentiated modes of lived and imagined citizenship. The chapter dissects the trajectories, functioning and implications of informal privatization in different tiers of schooling. It explains enrollment in tutoring, its costs, the related forms of coercion, cheating, truancy, narratives of conscientious teachers and tropes of neoliberal subjectivity.
In the Global South economic mobility across generations or intergenerational economic mobility is in and of itself an important topic for research with consequences for policy. It concerns the 'stickiness' or otherwise of inequality because mobility is concerned with the extent to which children's economic outcomes are dependent on their parents' economic outcomes. Scholars have estimated levels of intergenerational mobility in many developed countries. Fewer estimates are available for developing countries, where mobility matters more due to starker differences in living standards. This Element surveys the area, conceptually and empirically; it presents a new estimate for a developing country, namely Indonesia; it discusses the 'Great Gatsby Curve' and highlights the different positions of developed and developing countries. Finally, it presents a theoretical framework to explain the drivers of mobility and the stickiness or otherwise of inequality across time. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
This chapter explores the precarious experiences of retired workers who used to work in a former state-owned enterprise. As Vietnam shifted from a planned to a market economy, the regulation of labor relations changed from the socialist social contract to a legal regime operating in line with market principles. As a result of these changes, workers in the case-study enterprise experienced less economic security and deteriorating working conditions. The chapter demonstrates how their discontents and dissatisfaction at work reveal the gap between socialist ideals of workplace justice and post-reform reality. These workers turned to informal and corrupt practices, which operate in a vague, ill-defined area of the law, to be granted early retirement and claim benefits that they perceive as deserved and just. Yet the actual benefits that workers have received fall short of their expectations and make them vulnerable to poverty and further exploitation in their old age.
This chapter explains the three core steps in the book’s argument about the power of scarce states. First, I begin by considering the potential for direct effects on society by a scarce state through the distribution of state resources. Second, I suggest that isolated state actions can have effects through a more indirect channel as well. Third, I describe how the societal changes produced – directly or indirectly – by isolated state actions have downstream consequences for who wields political authority and how local actors contest for political power.
This chapter shows how the modern state’s first two major interventions into society explain the origins of contemporary intra-ethnic inequality in Northern Ghana. The chapter begins by explaining the research design, detailing how the pre-1914 colonial border creates an opportunity to estimate long-run effects of the colonial state’s imposition of new intra-ethnic elites. I then introduce the data and explain how inequality is measured. The analysis first establishes a strong correlation between the invention of chieftaincy and inequality today, comparing the “invented chiefs” and “never recognized” communities. I then explain how the state’s selective provision of education accounts for this relationship. The final section rules out a series of alternative explanations and mechanisms.
Dynastic families in Northern Ghana are widespread, extending decades prior to democratic rule into the colonial era, or earlier. These dynasties connect initial colonial-era chiefs – often installed into their positions directly by the state – to modern elected officeholders. I link Northern Ghana’s dynasties to the first two state interventions described in Chapter 3: the colonial invention of chieftaincy and differential access to education for chiefs’ families.
Returning to the comparative argument made in Chapter 2, this chapter explores the other three sub-national regions defined by the interaction of state presence and resource advantage. It demonstrates the externality validity and scope conditions of the book’s main argument.
States are often minimally present in the rural periphery. Yet a limited presence does not mean a limited impact. Isolated state actions in regions where the state is otherwise scarce can have outsize, long-lasting effects on society. The Scarce State reframes our understanding of the political economy of hinterlands through a multi-method study of Northern Ghana alongside shadow cases from other world regions. Drawing on a historical natural experiment, the book shows how the contemporary economic and political elite emerged in Ghana's hinterland, linking interventions by an ostensibly weak state to new socio-economic inequality and grassroots efforts to reimagine traditional institutions. The book demonstrates how these state-generated societal changes reshaped access to political power, producing dynastic politics, clientelism, and violence. The Scarce State challenges common claims about state-building and state weakness, provides new evidence on the historical origins of inequality, and reconsiders the mechanisms linking historical institutions to contemporary politics.
With the exception of India and Pakistan, South Asian countries have yet to properly implement their competition laws and policies. This chapter explores ways in which the implementation gap may be bridged, focusing on factors which may motivate governments or competition authorities in these countries to engage more meaningfully with competition enforcement and also considering strategies for doing so. The chapter argues that governments and competition authorities are more likely to support competition enforcement in their contexts if they are convinced of its potential to help them realise their goals of economic and social developmental goals. It also observes these countries’ growing engagement in the digital economy for its potential for growth and development and explores the role of competition enforcement for regulating e-commerce platforms. Finally, the chapter considers how the South Asian countries may learn from each other, and strategies for competition enforcement.
In the United States, one in four women will be victims of domestic violence each year. Despite the passage of federal legislation on violence against women beginning in 1994, differences persist across states in how domestic violence is addressed. Inequality Across State Lines illuminates the epidemic of domestic violence in the U.S. through the lens of politics, policy adoption, and policy implementation. Combining narrative case studies, surveys, and data analysis, the book discusses the specific factors that explain why U.S. domestic violence politics and policies have failed to keep women safe at all income levels, and across racial and ethnic lines. The book argues that the issue of domestic violence, and how government responds to it, raises fundamental questions of justice; gender and racial equality; and the limited efficacy of a state-by-state and even town-by-town response. This book goes beyond revealing the vast differences in how states respond to domestic violence, by offering pathways to reform.
In Australia and many other advanced economies, housing is playing a central role in accentuating and perpetuating inequality. This paper, drawing on primary and secondary data, discusses the various ways in which housing tenure in Australia contributes to wealth and income inequality. It argues that a neoliberal housing policy framework and accompanying financialisation of housing have facilitated a dramatic increase in house prices, the neglect of social housing, and a deepening wealth and income divide based on housing tenure. With respect to wealth, the key divide is between outright homeowners versus low-income private renters and low-income households in mortgage stress. The wealth of outright homeowners has grown substantially in recent decades and many have been able to acquire a holiday home and/or investment properties, thereby intensifying the wealth divide. Approximately a third of Australian households are now locked out of home ownership for an extended period or even lifelong. Housing tenure status also has an impact on the disposable income of households. For example, low-income outright homeowners are invariably in a far better position with respect to disposable income than their counterparts who have large mortgages or are private renters.
A number of reports have shown that workers with certain characteristics are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since these characteristics are associated with vulnerable workers, we hypothesise that the income distribution in the pandemic era will be polarised compared to the pre-pandemic period. This article compares the pre-COVID income distribution (February 2020) with the one that prevailed just after the hard lockdown (April 2020). Consistent with the hypothesis, the result shows evidence of polarisation. Disaggregating the analysis by worker characteristics, we find that the polarisation was stronger in vulnerable groups. Our decomposition result suggests that, apart from job losses, returns to gender and job characteristics explain the location and shape differences in the COVID-19 era income distribution. Although this analysis only looks at the short-term effect of the pandemic on income distribution, the result suggests that the structure of labour markets in developing countries is not conducive to a future of work where disruptions (or pandemics) may become more frequent.
This note provides a nontechnical summary of a research paper (Bullard and DiCecio [2021, Classical policy benchmarks for economies with substantial inequality, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, unpublished manuscript]) that I presented as the NIESR 2021 Dow Lecture on 9 February 2021. In the paper, we construct a simple benchmark macroeconomic model with substantial heterogeneity among households, enough to generate empirically plausible Gini coefficients for the distributions of consumption, income and financial wealth. The model includes aggregate shocks as well as both permanent and temporary idiosyncratic uncertainties. Four policymakers—implementing monetary, fiscal, labour market and education policies—act in concert to achieve a first-best allocation of resources. We argue that the roles of these policymaker types are ‘classic’ and match up well with observed policymaker roles in OECD countries. We regard this simple economy as a benchmark for the study of other aspects of the interaction between policy and inequality.
The non-take-up of public services has the potential to undermine civil rights and deepen social inequality. Looking at the case of the Youth Community College Programme in China, an innovation in governance to facilitate community integration of the migrant population by providing free education, this study finds that the targeted disadvantaged groups are systematically excluded due to the disproportionate imposition of various administrative burdens on them. We propose that an interaction mechanism – which we term “selective affinity” – between the policy process and individuals’ human capital leads to this unintended outcome. The study contributes to a deeper understanding of the causal mechanisms underlying vulnerable people's non-take-up of public services, while highlighting an example of dysfunctional state–society interaction and a mechanism for the reproduction of social inequality under authoritarianism in China.
This review article seeks to build bridges between mainstream African history and the more historically oriented branch of the ‘new’ economic history of Africa. We survey four central topics of the new economic history of Africa — growth, trade, labor, and inequality — and argue that the increased use of quantitative methods and comparative perspectives have sharpened views on long-term trajectories of economic development within Africa and placed the region more firmly into debates of global economic development. The revival of African economic history opens new opportunities for Africanist historians to enrich the interdisciplinary approaches they have taken to study questions of demography, poverty, slavery, labor, inequality, migration, state formation, and colonialism. These fruits, however, can only be reaped if the institutional boundaries between the fields of history and economic history are softened and both sides engage in greater mutual engagement. Our paper aims to move closer to a shared vision on the benefits and limitations of varying quantitative methods, and how these approaches underpin both more and less convincing narratives of long-term African development.
The neglect of marginalized stakeholders is a colossal problem in both stakeholder and entrepreneurship streams of literature. To address this problem, we offer a theory of marginalized stakeholder-centric entrepreneurship. We conceptualize how firms can utilize marginalized stakeholder input actualization through which firms should process a variety of ideas, resources, and interactions with marginalized stakeholders and then filter, internalize, and, finally, realize important elements that improve a variety of related socioeconomic, ethical, racial, contextual, political, and identity issues. This input actualization process enables firms to innovate with marginalized stakeholders and develop marginalized stakeholder capabilities. To this end, firms fulfill both their moral and entrepreneurial claims to marginalized stakeholders.
The case of the early imperial small rural settlement of Marzuolo, in south-central Etruria, paints a micro-history of arrested developments: a couple of decades into the site's existence, an abandoned wine-production facility was converted into a blacksmithing workshop, which in turn burnt down and was abandoned soon after. But were both these endings failures? This article uses the concept of failure as an epistemic lens to examine inequality: who could fail in the Roman world, and for whom was failure not an option? It argues that failure was tied up with particular notions of the future, which were not equally distributed. Yet in contrast to modern paradigms, in the Roman world even the privileged seem not to have embraced failure as a stepping-stone towards growth.
Given that feminist arguments have been around for decades, and that there has been progress towards gender equality, many would argue that concerns over gender have been resolved ߝ a battle won. However, declaring victory in this manner seems very premature. After all, the evidence suggests that a significant number of wider questions still attract attention: just what is gender and what is the best theoretical framework for approaching it? What roles do schools play in its construction? Do we still have to go down the ‘men are to blame for everything’ route? Why should schooling have anything to do with gender identity?
This chapter will unpack the complex and changing relationship between gender and education. In order to accomplish this, it will link each of the most common myths in the area with one of the three waves of feminism that characterised the twentieth century. As with the arguments surrounding social class, it will ultimately be suggested that explanations relying upon a master discourse ߝ not ‘the economy’ again, but in this case patriarchy ߝ a unified system of male domination ߝ are outdated. Similarly, it is argued that the view of gender as a binary of man/woman based on anatomy at birth has had its day.